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Apple acquires startup focused on lenses for AR glasses

Financial details for acquisition of Akonia Holographics weren't revealed, Reuters reports.

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Apple has acquired AR glasses maker Akonia Holographics.

James Martin/CNET

Apple has acquired a startup that focuses on making lenses for augmented reality glasses, a move reinforcing Apple's interest in the burgeoning technology.

Apple on Wednesday confirmed its acquisition of Akonia Holographics in its customary note on acquisitions, but didn't disclose the financial details of the transaction. It wasn't immediately clear when the acquisition occurred, but Reuters, which first reported the acquisition, cites industry sources as saying Akonia has been "very quiet" during the past six months.

Longmont, Colorado-based Akonia was founded in 2012 to develop optical technologies based on holography such as holographic data storage before turning its attention to creating displays for augmented reality glasses, according to its website.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR overlays images and data atop the real world. The best-known example of AR today is Pokemon Go, in which Pokemon characters appear on players' phone screens amid the streets or parks they're exploring.

Apple amped up its AR play in January when it released its ARKit 1.5 to developers. The software, which is part of the upcoming iOS 11.3 release, will pack new features to enable richer apps, including the ability to places items on vertical walls and doors, not just horizontal surfaces like tables.

The tech titan is also reportedly working with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses.

Akonia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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